Make your own 120 Film Cans

I wrote this ages ago, but it wasn’t in the easiest to find place. I discovered today that Ilford fit inside Agfa, and – with a bit of brute force – an Ilford will fit inside an Ilford. So I made a few more of these …
I’ve often wondered why the relatively tough little metal-clad 35mm roll comes in a neat plastic case, while the bigger and more delicate 120 roll has nothing more than foil to protect it. You can buy 120 film cans, but they are expensive after-market things.

Since I also (used to) shoot 35mm, I tend to end up with a lot of empty film cans. Some brands of film, I noticed, have quite different can diameters. Fuji seems to have the narrowest, Ilford next, and then Agfa the widest. A Fuji can slips quite neatly inside an Agfa can — in fact, if you bore a small hole in the bottom of an Agfa, fill it with water, and slide a Fuji can in as a plunger, it acts as quite an effective single-shot water pistol. But I digress …

But best of all, I discovered that a Fuji can is a tight interference fit into an Ilford can. Since I knew that a 120 spool is a smaller diameter than a 35mm roll, and is less than twice the length, I knew I could do something with this.

ilford and fuji film cans, knife.

You will need:

  • an Ilford film can. It doesn’t need to have a lid, as it will be acting as the base of the “stretch” 120 can.
  • a Fuji film can. I’ve only used the black kind you get with the faster films. I suspect that the clear cans that are used on the rest of the range might work, but won’t be light-tight.
  • a sharp knife. The pictured Opinel may not look much, but it has a razor-like carbon steel blade.

fuji can with end sliced off.

Slice the end off the Fuji can. It helps to poke a hole in the side of the can a couple of millimetres up from the end, and then start slicing where you made the hole.

fuji can jammed in ilford can.

Jam the now baseless Fuji can into the Ilford can, and push it down to the desire length. It really helps if you take the lid off the Fuji can, as otherwise you’d be working against air compression. It also helps if you have a spare 120 spool handy, to check that you haven’t pushed the two cans too far in to be useful.

120 film can in use!

And there you are! It might be rather rough and ready, but it works. I don’t know how durable or waterproof these things are, but they’ll afford considerably more protection than having them rolling about loose in your camera bag.

fauxlomo

Portpatrick, with the Gimp faux lomo effect
Portpatrick, taken with a Fujifilm MX-1200 pretending to be a lomo

For probably no better reason beyond babbittry, I’ve always half-wanted a lomo. Half-wanted, that is, because of my previous experience with “Russian” photo gear (I’ve had a Lomo TLR, a Fed rangefinder, and a Pentacon six) and its legendary quality control. I’m also so done with film.
A while back, Donncha wrote about a  GIMP Lomo Plugin. While it looked handy, the link to the code is now dead. You can find what I think is the same one here: http://flelay.free.fr/pool/lomo2.scm (or a local copy here if that link dies: lomo2.scm). Just pop it in your .gimp-2.2/scripts/ directory, and it’ll appear as a filter. The original author‘s comment on Donncha’s blog contains good settings: Vignetting softness=1, Contrast=30, Saturation=30, Double Vignetting=TRUE.

I knew there was a reason I retrieved my old 1.3 megapixel Fujifilm MX-1200 from my parents’ house. And that reason is fauxlomo!

National Convenience Store Day

So, did you US folks celebrate National Convenience Store Day today by grabbing a slurpee and a preserved meat treat? (We celebrate it on 7 November here.)

Sadly, and rather worryingly, I’m not the only person to think of this.

completely tanked

I spent most of yesterday setting up the aquarium. It’s an 120l one, so it’s a lot bigger and heavier than anything I’ve worked with before. It’s been running since then, getting the water ready, and I put in a couple of plants today. Real plants, that is; not the plastic ones that came with the tank.

The tank’s already got a couple of denizens; some tiny snails that were lurking on the plants. I don’t think they’re anything to freak out about yet. If they’re still alive in the morning, at least I know the water’s not completely toxic.

The biggest problem has been making sure the heater’s working. Today it’s been hotter in the house than the tank, so I don’t know if the set-point’s wrong.

Crappy Lanes: spread the love

Further to Matt Seaton’s article in the Guardian about atrocious cycle facilities, and highlighting Warrington Cycle Campaign’s Facility of the Month, can I just say that Pete Owens of WCC got the idea for the web page from my Crappy Lanes (archive.org copy) site?

clicking like the trilobite

clicks in my H120 recording
Darn it, but my iRiver, with this recent firmware upgrade, now records a click about every minute it records. See the regular peaks? It hasn’t completely ruined my recording of Of Montreal, but it hasn’t helped.

(and apologies for the relatively huge file size of the image; I’m just learning my mac-fu.)

and I thought that it’d hosed the recording of the encore by killing the wav file header. But some digging with sox parameters fixed it:

sox -V -t .raw -s -w -c 2 -r44100  broken.wav fixed.wav